We just got a few photo updates from Barbara de Vries on the construction progress of the bottle structure. Check it out!

We're so excited to see this person and we hope you are too. More to come!!

--- Viv

In the spirit of Art Basel and Barbara de Vries' Plastic Is Forever installation opening at Arts for a Better World this Thursday... 

A triptych of paintings on canvas of found plastic objects, gathered from Australian beaches.

John Dahlsen is a nationally-regarded, environmentally-conscious artist from Australia who draws a surprising harmony between mass-produced material and the natural world. Ranging from wall-hangings and free-standing installations to paintings and totems, his pieces are all comprised of or feature found and recycled materials like driftwood, plastic waste and plastic bags gathered from Australian beaches. His talent for making paintings look like real objects and transforming waste into beautiful art greatly contributed to Australia's contemporary art movement. Not to mention giving all of us more creative ideas on how to reuse and recycle!

"Chasm". Found plastic objects assembled behind glass.

"White Plastics Panel" diptych. Found white plastic objects behind glass.

Monumental Environmental Artwork. The trunk and root of a camphor laurel tree.

Driftwood Sculpture Trio. 

"Blue River". Compressed found plastic bags behind glass.

All images taken from JohnDahlsen.com.

--- Annie 

Barbara de Vries, the artist-designer behind Plastic Is Forever, is combining the worlds of art, fashion, non-profit, and the eco-conscious with an unprecedented installation at the Arts for a Better World exhibition during Art Basel Miami kicking off next week! 

The interior of La Casa de Botellas.

Inspired by La Casa de Botellas, Barbara will be building a 10 by 10 by 8ft structure in the middle of the exhibition show space with 2,000 plastic water bottles. The bottles are collected through a recycling drive by two Miami elementary schools  - in fact, Barbara picked them up herself earlier today while on the phone with us! Inside the structure will be a display of her process of creating fashion out of waste - the plastic pieces she collected from beaches laid out by color, the Loomstate x Barneys Blank Tees by color, and examples of the Plastic Is Forever tee program. Barbara will also be bringing in her workspace where she will be producing the tees in person and literally showing the "process in process". 

The exterior of La Casa de Botellas.

The installation/performance piece is aptly named "Illumine" - not only will the glass-like structure literally be illuminated and glowing, it also aims to shine light on the process and the possibility of turning catastrophe into beauty. It's definitely worth a visit if you're in town for Art Basel - this exhibition is up at Soho Studios at The Wynwood Convention Center (NW 22nd x NW 1st Ave) from December 1st to 5th. If you can't make it, Barbara documents her process on her blog here.

--- Viv

Because we love Pho (especially from our friends at An Choi and especially after this video) and because most people don't know how to pronounce the Vietnamese dish properly and because why not?

Pho vs. Faux from Brian wilcox on Vimeo.

--- Viv

Though activities in the city are endlessly entertaining, getting off the island for even just an afternoon is always refreshing. Zipcar and other rental companies have simplified the process of travel for urbanites without their own set of wheels, but more recently green travel website, OffManhattan.com, has made venturing even easier...greener...and more affordable! This unique web site, started by two adventure enthusiasts, suggests activities, restaurants, festivals, hikes, and notable towns, all within a few hours of the city, along with a guide to reach each via public transportation.

This travel database is especially useful for weekend getaways, when the boiling heat or winter chill of the city is too much to handle. During the summer learn about the best places to surf on Long Island, the local food movement in Philadelphia, and even a jazz festival in Provincetown, MA. During the colder months, discover the best spots for apple and pumpkin picking, places to stay in Boston, MA and how to access the nearby ski mountains. Check out the website for current Thanksgiving weekend recommendations and free giveaways!

--- Annie

Everything we own comes from somewhere, but it's not often that we can figure out the product's origin. With the newly launched Loomstate Home Collection, the journey of each bowl, cutting board, and serving piece can be traced back to their beginnings!

Pennsylvania Farm Reclaim Project!

All Loomstate Home pieces are made from salvaged lumber gathered throughout the northern US. It ranges in age from 70 to 150 years old, and in species, including walnut, ash, white oak, red oak, catalpa, black cherry, soft and hard maple! All wood is from trees and logs gathered from cityscapes, lot clearings, construction projects and renovated structures. 

Reclaimed wood from the roadside in Pennsylvania.

Residential wood reclaim.

Instead of being chipped, discarded or destroyed, the wood is sent to skilled woodworkers in northern Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Brooklyn to create one-of-a-kind tabletop pieces. The natural knots, intersections, cracks, streakings and swirls are part of the objects' unique identity and, we think, give them immense character. The trees' natural state is especially apparent on the sides of the cutting boards (pictures below) that feature the two raw edges of the tree trunk.

From raw slabs of wood...

... to beautifully hand-crafted cutting boards, each carefully formed by hand!

Measuring out the wood from which the spoons are hand carved.

Loomstate co-founder Scott branding the wooden bowls. 

The finished products!

Not only do they make great holiday gifts, they're a beautiful way to give back. Loomstate has partnered with Food Bank for NYC to donate $10 from every bowl purchase on Loomstate.org to support their mission against hunger. Each dollar donated translates into 4-5 meals to feed the one in five New Yorker that rely on the Food Bank. That's 40-50 meals! For more info on Food Bank and other ways to give back, check out www.foodbanknyc.org or text FBNYC to 50555 to donate $10.

Available at Barneys online, select stores, and at Loomstate.org!

--- Viv

Photo courtesy of Life.

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which draws in nearly 3.5 million onto the city sidewalks to celebrate the giving nature of the Native Americans with ginormous balloons and clowns twirling dishes and honking horns, is making an effort to go green! Helium, which allows the home-sized balloons to hover ever so gently above the city, is a gas that is secreted very slowly by decaying uranium and thorium. The global helium supply is so limited that during the 1958 parade the balloons were filled with oxygen and strapped to the tops of trucks for mobility! Macy’s, in coordination with helium-provider, Linde North America, is now recapturing a substantial portion of the 300,000 cubic feet of helium used during the grand spectacle each year, in an effort to protect this limited resource.

Photo courtesy of Johnny Jet.

This year’s Thanksgiving will mark Macy’s 84th parade and the 4th year of successful helium sequestration. Only about 5 percent of the world’s helium is recycled each year, but this large-scale effort will hopefully encourage further helium recapturing. Who knew Macy’s is gliding us toward a greener future?


As we approach the Thanksgiving Day meal that we wait for all year long, fast for a day before and regret for the week after, we're thinking of ways to "green" the menu this year. Here are a few things we came up with:
  • Make it special - send an evite!
  • Decorate with natural foliage. Head outback with some clippers, or pick up some fallen leaves on your walk home from work. 
  • Get your turkey from a local poultry farm if possible. Green Planet offers a list of eco turkey options.
  • Collect non-perishables (wine & beer, gourds, carrots, potatoes, spices, oils, candles) at a local farmers market the weekend before. Buy the rest a day or two before at an organic market.
  • Serve lots of pumpkin - it's seasonal! This recipe for pumpkin arugula salad is delicious.
  • Encourage guests to bring tupperware or have reusable ones handy. Send the leftovers home with guests, so that nothing goes to waste!
Here are some other recipes courtesy of the Consumer's Union. Happy preparing!


Frescobol, the tanned beefier beach-going cousin of Ping Pong, has always been a popular wave-side sport and pastime. Ping Pong has gotten quite the fashionable following and numerous stylish makeovers as of late, so it was only a matter of time someone stepped up to whip those Frescobol paddles in shape. Using reclaimed wood remnants from furniture production and factories, Rio-based company FB Collection hand crafts and brands these one-of-a-kind bats before finishing with a special resin to resist wear from the sea, sun and sand. 

They offer three different models to choose from based on the look and function you want, and six fun retro colors for the handle tape! Definitely a great gift for the sporty beach relative in the family, or even just for some backyard play.

See them here!

Images from FB Collection. Via The Cool Hunter.

Because we always have a need to categorize things, they've been called lo-fi neo-surf-rock, surf porn, beach goth, country-surf-pop-rock, and altered-state among other things. Take a listen and you'll see why no one can quite pin down the genre where The Growlers belong, and why it doesn't really matter. Two surfing buddies moved to Long Beach to try their hand at making music while catching some waves. They chose to call themselves The Growlers because they thought they were crappy at the time (growler being a term for taking a crap among other things...). Well, we think they've outgrown their name.

Video for "Sea Lion Goth Blues"

Read Spinner's interview with Brooks Nielsen, the vocals behind the band, and check out other videos for singles off their new album, Hot Tropics!

--- Viv

Using black and white print paper instead of negative film in his self-made large-format cameras, photographer Chris McCaw is able to track the sun's movements across the sky by exposing the film to long periods of direct sunlight. McCaw leaves the camera open for 2 to 8 hours of sun, which scorches and burns the paper in some cases, creating highly solarized images and incredibly awesome patterns and haunting effects. Besides being visually stimulating, the photos are a nice reminder to wear sunscreen.

Some are pretty and some are creepy, but the "Action Plant" series of time-lapse videos by Omni/ScienceNet is definitely engaging. Check them out!

Via Pink Tentacle.

--- Viv
Light up on the go without having to wield extension cords or lug around heavy planks of solar panels. This gizmo can literally fit in your knapsack and provide light long after the sun has set, making it perfect for camping, picnics, outdoor patios, or even for some serious mood lighting.

They can be purchased ready made (in yellow, blue or red) or can be easily put together on your own. The components are simple and just follow the diagram above: glass jar, mini solar power cell, rechargeable battery, energy efficient LED light and the sun. 

Get these little photons of energy at Uncommon Goods or Amazon. Similarly innovative items like the Solar Lantern Water Bottle and the Glow Brick Night Light are worth a look too!

--- Annie

Much too often travellers venture to beautiful international beach resorts to enjoy the white sand beaches, lapping waves and endless pina coladas served ocean-side, without even acknowledging the local culture outside of the front gates. Why even bother leaving the country?

Surf for the Cause, started by a group of socially-conscious surfers, brings a harmony to this imbalance and offers week-long international trips that are half surfing and half giving. This unique non-profit lets adventurous surfers of all levels to enjoy some of the finer swells in the world, while giving back to the local communities. Upcoming trips this winter are planned for Nicaragua in coordination with Flying Kites, which offers support for homeless, orphaned and abused children. So, hang ten and give a hand all in the same trip!

The group is also featured in a new documentary film, The Human Experience (watch the trailer). Check the website to volunteer, donate or plan a trip this winter, follow their blog, or stop in their new office in Green Point, Brooklyn to chat with one of the founders.

--- Annie

Open Travel brings us a roundup of some of the world's most flowery destinations with some unreal images of beautiful pastures filled with tulips of all hues, lavender, sunflowers and more. This is a much needed refresher for the eyes and mood brightener.

See more here.

--- Viv